Mubarak’s wife in intensive care `after heart attack`

Suzanne had suffered a heart attack following her remand in custody.

Cairo: Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak`s wife, Suzanne, was in intensive care on Saturday after state television reported she had suffered a heart attack following her remand in custody in a corruption probe.

"Suzanne Thabet has been moved to the intensive care unit at Sharm el-Sheikh hospital after suffering a heart attack," the television reported, referring to the Red Sea resort where she and her husband moved after being forced from power in February.

Mohammed Fathallah, who heads the hospital, said in a statement handed to reporters that Mrs Mubarak had suffered a "suspected heart attack and a sharp increase in blood pressure ... She will be kept under observation."

He later told the state-run MENA news agency that the former first lady had briefly lost consciousness on hearing she had been detained and that preliminary tests show that "her condition is stable”.

The news came hours after the Illicit Gains Authority ordered Suzanne Mubarak`s detention for 15 days on charges of illegal acquisition of wealth.

Preparations had been underway to move her from Sharm el-Sheikh hospital, where she was staying with her husband, to Qanater women`s prison outside Cairo, the provincial security director for south Sinai province, Mohamed al-Khatib, told MENA.

She will be taken to Cairo by plane "due to the danger of transporting her by road”, he said.

The state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Saturday that the former first lady has been placed under medical observation for 24 hours before any decision is made to move her.

She was interrogated in a hospital waiting room, close to where her husband has been in custody since April 13 when he also reportedly suffered a heart attack during questioning.

It was the first detention order for Mrs Mubarak, who had been questioned with her husband on Thursday night by the illicit gains department.

The former first couple are accused of having abused their position to enrich themselves illegally.

Crowds of people in Cairo`s Tahrir Square broke out into cheers and women ululated when news of the first lady`s detention broke.

The half-Welsh Suzanne was seen as the driving force behind plans to have her son Gamal take over the presidency from his father, a highly unpopular prospect in Egypt.

The authority also remanded Mubarak in custody for a further 15 days on Friday, after the three-hour interrogation.

He has also been questioned by the state prosecutor on several other charges, including ordering the shooting of anti-regime protesters. His detention has been repeatedly extended.

During the questioning, Mubarak and his wife agreed to reveal details of their bank accounts both inside and outside Egypt, MENA said.

The former president was quizzed about a villa he owns in Sharm el-Sheikh worth 36 million Egyptian pounds (about USD 6 million) "without counting the cost of the swimming pool," MENA said.

He was also asked about having personal control of the USD 145-million bank account of the Alexandria Library.

The former first lady was interrogated about a luxury villa she owns in Cairo, as well as GBP 20 million (about USD 3.3 million) held in a bank account, MENA said.

Mubarak, his wife, his two sons Alaa and Gamal and their wives were banned from travel and their assets ordered frozen by general prosecutor Abdel Magid Mahmud shortly after the former strongman was overthrown in February.

The two sons, along with dozens of officials and businessmen associated with the former regime, are being held in Cairo`s notorious Tora prison which housed political dissidents during the Mubarak era.

Before the popular uprising which ousted Mubarak, Gamal, who was close to business executives and held a top post in Egypt`s ruling party, was regarded as the political heir to Mubarak, while Alaa concentrated on business.

The wives of Alaa and Gamal, Heidi Rasekh and Khadiga al-Gammal, have also been questioned over Mubarak`s wealth.

Earlier this month, Switzerland said it had frozen 410 million francs (USD 463 million) in funds linked to Mubarak and his associates.

Mubarak`s 30-year grip on power was brought to an end on February 11 following 18 straight days of mass protests.

The military council which then took power has vowed to bring to justice all those accused of abuses and launched a sweeping probe into corruption.

Bureau Report